More digging, an injured cat and Easter preparations

There weren’t a lot of cats out and about when I did my morning rounds, which was a bit of a surprise.

I only spotted seven at first! Then Potato Beetle showed up, wanting into the sun room, so I let him.

With a bit of concern. He seemed to be limping a bit.

With the new snow on the ground, I can’t get to some of the areas that I normally check as part of my rounds, so the necessities were finished quickly. I decided to take the time to dig out the burn barrel, since we’ll need to fire it up before things start melting away.

This area had been almost completely clear of snow before the storm. This is all new snow.

After digging out enough space to move around the barrel without getting too close while it’s lit, I also dug a path to the spare fire ring, and took the snow off the dry wood and kindling we have on the grate we use as a spark shield in the summer.

After a quick check of the roof, I dug out (almost literally) the roof snow shovel and used that to take as much snow off the sun room roof as I could. Hopefully, there won’t be too many leaks into the sun room when the rest of it melts.

While in the sun room, Potato Beetle came out of his warm spot on the bottom shelf, which is when I could see that yes, he was limping. A lot. He was avoiding putting weight on his front left leg at much as he could.


I’ve called the vet and we now have an appointment for him for Wednesday at 7pm. They are now open 7 days a week, for extended hours. They are even open over Easter weekend, but are so booked, that was the earliest she could fit us in. She did put us on the cancellation list, just in case.


Hopefully, the funds set aside for my new glasses (which apparently won’t happen, since I’m not allowed to get an eye exam) will be enough cover it.

So that is set for Wednesday evening, then on Thursday, I have to go to court to deal with our vandal’s vexatious litigation against me that he filed, after I applied for the restraining order against him.

Hopefully, the judge will throw it out for the ridiculousness it is.


Well, until then, we will continue our Easter traditions. Today, we are assembling our basket. We’ve decided not to take it to the church for blessing, and will just bless it ourselves again. When my mother told me her church was doing it and what time, I talked about possibly bringing our basket in. She then launched into a long diatribe about how she hoped I wouldn’t bring that big, big basket I had the last time we were able to get our basket blessed. Apparently, in her mind, only small baskets are acceptable. No one has big baskets, so bringing a big basket is somehow uncivilized. Clearly, she forgets some of the big baskets people would bring to the church we used to go to when I was a kid. Ours could be considered small in comparison. Not to mention the ones with all the decorations hanging off the handles, and the bottles of win, etc. What she’s completely forgetting is why we do basket blessings in the first place. Instead, it’s become yet another thing to show off to other people, and judge other people for if they do it “wrong”. I don’t want her attitude to ruin one of our most symbolic and deeply meaningful traditions. When I called her last night and updated her on things (my nephew and his family were on the road at the time; they have since arrived safely!), she brought up getting her own basket ready, then asked if I’d be bringing ours. Phrased in such a way that she clearly thought I would not, and that the restrictions (there are none) were the reason.

Since I am driving my mother to my brother’s on Easter, the girls are staying home to celebrate it with my husband, with our traditional brunch, using foods from the basket.

I hope they remember to take pictures for me! 😀

The Re-Farmer

More digging, and I’m a suck

We got a break in the snow, so I went outside to do some more digging. All the paths I dug this morning, plus what my daughter dug out, had to be redone, as they were already filling with snow and, in a couple of places, were drifted over.

The main goal was to be able to get to the garage.

Unfortunately, right in front of the garage is where it tends to build up with extra snow blown off the roof.

And I needed to dig out the far set of doors.

Which I did. Both doors can be fully opened, to access the equipment inside.

Which is basically little Spewie. My thoughts of trying to fire up the old gas power snow blower disappeared rather quickly. Since it wasn’t working, it got shifted to the back and never got shifted forward for the winter, so it is blocked by the push mowers, the broken riding mower, the chipper, and little Spewie.

Which I won’t break out until tomorrow. That little thing takes a long time to do the job, partly due to the small size and partly due to having to drag 200 ft of extension cord behind me, to be able to reach the road.

That thing was made to clear things like short sidewalks, not entire country driveways! 😀 Still, it does the job quite well, and sure beats trying to manually dig out the driveway. Thank God our driveway isn’t very long!

I didn’t realize until I was inside, that I forgot to get a picture of the main sidewalk, so I took this photo from inside the house.

Yes, the snow was coming down again by then!

To get this photo, I opened the inner door of the main entry, reminding myself of why we don’t use that door anymore. I’d really hoped my fix would last longer (if you’re new to the blog, you can read about how that was done here, here and here), but I’m not bothering to take off the hinges to find out what happened. The entire door and frame needs to be replaced, so there’s no point in trying to fix it again.


I am a total suck when it comes to the cats.

When I first headed out this morning, Potato Beetle managed to dash into the sun room when I opened the door. I left the doors partly open so he could come out and have some food once I cleared the kibble house. He didn’t come out, so I left a bit of food for him in the sun room.

I came back later to check and didn’t see him, but I did startle Rolando Moon off of my husband’s walker seat. 😀

It’s a very comfortable seat.

Thinking Potato Beetle was out, I closed up the doors, since we’ve got plants in there and I didn’t want it to get too cold, then continued digging. Coming back in later, I found him tucked in a corner under the swing bench. So I left him be, and made sure he had food and water.

When my daughter went outside to dig some more, I checked the sun room again. I thought he went outside after her, only to catch a glimpse of him.

He was in the plant shelf.

On the tray under the small light fixture that we’re using as a minor heat source for the plants above. He was actually wrapped around the fixture!

Every now and then, I’d check on him to see if he was ready to go out. After a while, he moved away from the fixture, but still next to it. When I went out to dig again, I found him one shelf down.

He is absolutely content in there.

So I made sure his food and water was topped up, then dragged out the extra litter box and put some litter in it. And made sure the box bed with the pillow in it was handy. He can stay in there all night, if he wants to.

Because I am a total suck for the cats.

Oh, yeah… while digging out the snow that drifted around the kibble house again, I also dug out the cat path to the storage house, too, so it’ll be easier for the cats to get to and from the kibble house.

Did I mention I’m a suck for the cats?

Yeah. I totally am.

The Re-Farmer

The digging begins

Checking the weather this morning, my app told me we were still snowing. Which was a surprise to me, since I couldn’t see any snow falling out our window! 😀 Eventually, looking out a window with dark tree trunks in the background, I could finally see the tiniest of flakes.

There were 394 emails of images from the garage cam waiting for me this morning. It would have been more, except I made sure to clear the inbox before going to bed. From the looks of it, the heaviest snow stopped hours ago, but with the infrared flash, all it takes is a single snowflake to trigger the camera to take an image and send it to me.

Though I did see at least one with deer image, that happened while I was outside, digging.

There was a drift in front of the sun room door, but I was able to open it wide enough to get through. It’s a salvaged door, so I stopped opening it as soon as I could hear it cracking! LOL

The main thing was that I could get out and get to where the snow shovels were sitting. I’d even thought that I could put one in the sun room, yesterday, but completely forgot to actually do it!

The first job would be to dig my way to the kibble house. Unfortunately, the way the winds swirl around this corner of the house, a drift forms right under the kibble house roof and snow gets into the kibble house itself.

We were supposed to build a smaller version of this for the water bowls. We really need to get that done for next winter. With the three structures around each other, they should shelter each other and keep this from happening. At least, not as much as happens now.

While I was shoveling, some kitties patiently waited for their kibble!

There was a lot more snow inside the kibble house than I expected!

Once that was clear, I made sure to set out the food and water before continuing on, so they could have a chance to eat.

That drift between the kibble house and their shelter is right on top of a kibble tray. That was my next goal.

As soon as it was clear, I added more food for the kitties that are too shy to go into the kibble house. Then it was time to dig a path to the shrine and uncover the kibble tray there, for the even shier cats.

That took a lot of digging. This one needed an ice chipper, as the chunks of old snow underneath had frozen.

The main issue with all the digging, however, was the snow itself. It’s still relatively warm for such things, so the snow is fairly wet. Not only did that make for heavier snow, but it was sticky. I’d throw a shovel full, and half the snow would stick to the blade. I’d have to knock it off, then shovel it away again.

The kitties fed and watered, it was time to turn my attention to the next path.

I needed to dig my way across the south side of the house, then to the feeding station, before I could leave feed out for the birds and the deer.

The deer were not as patient as the kitties!

Look what I found!

I’d put our winter sowing experiment in the snow on the south side of a path, originally, but as the snow melted and became less stable, I moved them here, and they got completely buried.

I didn’t take the snow off the top. I figure it’ll melt into the containers a fair bit, through the open tops and the air circulation holes on the shoulders. I’m also not bothering to dig out the rest of the concrete stairs yet, since we’re not using that door.

This is how the south side path looked when it was done. I also dug out the well cap.

On the south side, I dug a path as far as the lane that was cleared for the septic truck to get into the yard. As amusing as it is to show how deep the snow it along the paths, this is a more accurate representation of how much snow we actually got.

I’d say, about 8-10 in/20-25cm, at most.

I didn’t dig the rest of the way to the compost heap. We can get through that with our boots, and it’s going to all melt away fairly soon, anyhow.

The path along the east side of the house was mostly blown completely clear, even as the snow drifted into the lilacs and cherry trees. Even the low sloped roofs on the east side of the house were blown clear of snow.

Clearing this path went MUCH faster! 😀

The snow drifted over where I usually put seed, under where a bird feeder should be hanging, but I didn’t bother clearing that. I dropped the seeds on the exposed grass, closer to the house.

I’m sure the birds and deer will be fine with that. 😉

The snow was coming down harder by the time I was done, though it’s slacked off again. The next path to dig is the path to the garage, and maybe to the burn barrel.

That’s something the girls will take care of, later.

Once that’s done, we’ll have an idea of whether or not we can get out of our driveway. I’m seriously considering trying to start that old gas powered snow blower again. If we could get that going, we could clear the driveway. If we can’t… well, we’ll see how things go over the next few days. If it’s not too deep, I might break out little Spewie. The temperatures over the next while are supposed to remain below freezing, light snow is supposed to continue through tomorrow, and we’re even supposed to get a bit more snow on Easter Sunday, so it’s not like anything is going to be melting away anytime soon.

It sucks that this happened over the Easter weekend, when we actually want to get out and get together with family. If it weren’t for that, I’d be just fine with getting all this extra moisture. Once it does finally melt away, it should be great for when it’s time to plant our garden!

The Re-Farmer

That was fast!

I honestly didn’t expect to see a front end loader at our place until much later today. So it was a surprise when, as I was making supper, started hearing the distinctive beeping down of heavy equipment backing up.

A glace out the window, and there was a front end load, starting to clear our driveway. !!

So I ran outside to talk to the driver, and show him where I needed clearing. We walked around the yard a bit as I showed him where the septic truck needed to back up to, and mentioned the warning I got, if the loader started sinking.

He also absolutely refused payment!

These folks are the best. I look forward to being able to do something for them, some day!

There turned out to be one area of concern, but it wasn’t in the yard.

It looks like, as soon as he drove through and the tires sank in the mud, all the water that had been in the paths just drained into it!

There is now a nice clear lane for the septic truck to back into.

Where the septic truck needs to stop was quite solid. The snow tends to get blown away from that area, so it’s not as deep, allowing the ground to freeze harder.

If this pile of snow seems a bit small for the amount that needed to be cleared, it is!

There were three other areas he pushed snow into, first. The path to the compost pile is mostly clear, though!

You can see another wet, muddy spot as well, but the wheels didn’t sink.

I’ve called the septic guy back and he hopes to be able to get here by about noon, tomorrow.

Now, we just need things to stay nice and cold overnight.

The Re-Farmer

Here we go again; septic woes

Well, it looks like I won’t be getting new glasses anymore, because that budget is about to disappear.

The girls and I started on the horrible job of cleaning up behind the washer and drier.

The primary goal was to access the drain pipe and pour down some drain cleaner, but we had to get to it, first, and that job fell to my younger daughter; the most able bodied and agile of us going into a space barely big enough for one person.

Also, it’s amazing how many things the cats get at that end up under appliances.

First, the dryer needed to be pulled out, unplugged, then pulled out some more.

Then my poor, saintly daughter took care of the mess that cats made back there. Not only did they knock all kinds of things off shelves back there, but they then peed all over it. We ended up throwing out an unopened box of drier sheets, a caulking gun, with a tube of caulk still loaded in it, my other daughters missing wrist brace, and even a strainer basket that I used to use to pick, then wash, vegetables from the garden, among other things. I’m amazed by all the stuff that ended up there.

Then the washing machine got pulled out, and we found the rest of the little things the cats chased under there. Some of them were even cat toys.

After drain cleaner was poured down the pipe, my daughter continued to clean and mop the floor, while her sister and I assisted where we could. I decided it would be a good idea to use the plumbing snake as well, so I went into the old basement to get it.

The basement was flooded.

But only on one side, and not the side where water seeps through during spring melt. No, this was all over near the septic pump.

But not FROM the septic pump. Nor any of the pipes beside it.

What the heck?

The drain in the floor does not have what it should to prevent gases from getting into the room, so there is a sheet of plastic under the drain cover. I moved it aside to allow the water on the floor do drain, only to find the drain was full.

There was also was looked like toilet paper.

What the heck?

I went back up to assist my daughter, we quickly determined the plumbing snake was not going to work out, and kept on going. We had to wait 15-20 minutes before we could pour hot water down the pipe after the drain cleaner. Once we were at the stage of putting everything back again, I went back to check on the basement.

After a while fussing with the drain, it became clear that it was the source of the flooding.

Water was backing up from the septic tank, though the drain, and into the basement.


At that point, I got my husband to call the septic guy and see if he could come out – as well as finding out how much it would cost, and if he could take an etransfer. While he did that, I headed outside to start shoveling a path to the septic tank. With our melt-thaw cycle lately, the snow had a very hard crust on the top, so it needed a lot of tackling with the ice chipper first, then shoveling. Chip out about a foot, then shovel. Chip about a foot, then shovel.

I didn’t get very far when I realized a major problem.

It’s one thing to shovel a path to the tank, but how was the truck going to get in? We haven’t been able to clear the yard for a vehicle at all this winter, and the snow was just too deep, even for a big truck.

I quickly messaged the family to let them know (I love technology!) and my husband cancelled the septic guy.

Shortly after, my other daughter came out and took over the shoveling.

I headed inside and made a call to the renters who have so kindly been clearing our driveway.

I just got interrupted in writing this.

The septic guy was on the road and never got the call about canceling. He just showed up. We talked for a while, and now he’s left, because there was no way he could get through that snow.

Which brings me back to my call to the renters, and spoke to the Mrs.

I explained the situation and asked if I could hire someone to come with their front end loader and clear a path for the septic truck. Unfortunately, her husband and the farm hands had just left and would not be back for several hours. She promised to text her husband (which would eventually get to him; they’re in the same cell phone dead zone we are in) about it. I told her that if it could be done today, we could call the septic guy in for tomorrow, and to please let me know how much to pay them for it. They’ve been refusing payment all this time, but it’s different when I’m going to them for a job! She said she would let me know.

Which is what I just explained to the septic guy; that hopefully, we’ll have someone with a front end loader to clear the snow, and then we’d call him back. He told me that, if the front end loader starts sinking into the ground, not to bother, because he would get stuck. It seems that the snow fell before the ground was frozen, which means in some areas, the snow insulated the ground and kept it from freezing.

I don’t think we’ve got that problem, but we’ll see.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

My husband had found out how much the septic guy would cost – $160 (six months ago, it was $135), and that they did not take etransfers. Which meant, I needed to get cash.

So I updated my daughter that was shoveling, then headed to the town my mother lives in, where there is a branch of my bank, to get enough cash for the septic guy and for clearing the snow. I have no idea how much that will be, so I took out what I hope is extra.

The remains of my tax return for my glasses budget just went *poof*.

I don’t actually mind. I’m thankful that we had the funds at all.

Once I got back home, I didn’t even bother going back inside. I went back to shoveling.

My daughter had shoveled all the way to where the tank is, before she had to go in. She had to fight her way through a drift, so the snow was even deeper than usual for much of it. Just to make things even more unfortunate, the snow under the crust was sticky – and would stick to the shovel! So it was chip, scoop, fling, shakeshakeshake, over and over!

Now we have this area.

Normally, we use straw to cover the tank. A couple of years back, we had to get the tank done in January. I had to dig a path, then got the straw off the lid, and that was it.

It won’t be so easy, this time. We used an insulated tarp this time. It was big enough to fold in half, so it’s double insulated.

The first thing was to find the edge of the insulated tarp. It’s pegged to the ground all along this edge, and the end. I needed to be careful using the chipper, at this point, because I didn’t want to damage the tarp.

I dug my way down to the corner and discovered a problem.

The downspout from the roof was draining near here. All that melted snow from the roof has formed a layer of ice, a couple of inches thick, right over the end of the tarp.

Which means we would need to lift the tarp from the other end.

This end.

When putting insulation along the bottom of the house, we made sure the tarp was right up to, and partway up, the wall, then everything was weighted into place.


Well, there was nothing to do but keep on digging.

Hopefully, enough has been cleared that we’ll be able to pull it back to the lid of the tank enough to open it.

After all this was done, I made sure to check the basement again. I’m happy to say that the majority of the water did drain away. Also, the septic pump is still doing its job. So we should still at least be able to use the toilet.

We got the outhouse fixed up just in case something like this happened, yet we can’t even use it. The path to the outhouse is full of water. We don’t even have the honey pot anymore; that got loaned to my mother, and I haven’t seen it since.


This shouldn’t be happening. When I was growing up here, there was 7 of us, and that tank got emptied only once a year. We’ve been getting it emptied twice a year. It’s been just under 6 months since we had it last done. It should not be this full.

On the plus side, it is backing up through the drain in the floor, and not doing what it did last time, which was backing up into the laundry sink, then splashing out the P trap, all over the septic pump. The floor drain was full of roots and silt. Now that it’s clear, the tank is backing up through there, instead, making much less of a mess than the last couple of times we’ve found with it.

Still. It shouldn’t be happening at all.

I don’t get it.


Hopefully, the renters will be able to clear the snow for us, and we’ll have the septic guy back in tomorrow.

What a pain. :-/

The Re-Farmer

Well, that took a lot more work than expected

This morning, I decided to finish my mourning rounds by finally digging out the BBQ, so I could put the new cover on it. I was waiting for a slightly cooler day, when things wouldn’t be melting while I worked.

Though it was still very much a “rubber boot” morning!

This is the cat path from the kibble house to the storage house. The cats made the paths you see on the left with their muddy little feet, while the path veering right goes to the fire pit.

As you can see, there is a low spot right here, filled with snowmelt. I had to slog through it several times while I was working this morning!

With the melt-thaw happening over the last while, the top of the snow has formed a pretty hefty crust. In fact, this morning I spotted our piebald deer through the bathroom window, on the far side of the old kitchen garden, walking on top of the snow. Not only did the snow hold her weight, but when I walked past the area later, I couldn’t even see tracks.

As you can imagine, the ice chipper got a good workout while I was digging, this morning!

I cleared a path along the side of the collapsed tent, removed hard packed snow that was on top of the remains of the canopy, then had to cut away parts of the torn canopy to free the BBQ. Unfortunately, I still had to deal with the piece of tree that had broken the tent in the first place.

That out-of-focus branch tip in the foreground is part of the branch that you see stretching up and out of frame at the top.

I had to break off that branch in pieces to be able to access the back of the BBQ and the other corner of the tent. On the plus side, since the branch was sticking up into the air like that, the pieces are very dry. They’ll be great for the fire pit.

This was the main problem. One of the canopy supports was across the side element on the BBQ. There had actually been a folded up camp chair leaning against it. There’s a little pillow attached, and it actually protected the BBQ. The little bit of scuffing you can see under the canopy support happened just this morning, after I moved the camp chair out.

I couldn’t get that piece off the BBQ. It wouldn’t even break for me, as others did. All it would do is slide back and forth, but there was still too much weight from the canopy remains, and the snow trapped in it, to lift it.

There was a possible solution, though. We had dropped the tent legs as low as they could go, to cover and protect the picnic table and BBQ, making sure it was thoroughly pegged down with the support ropes, to make sure it wouldn’t blow away. What I could do was remove the canopy from the frame as much as possible, then raise the legs up to the first notch.

It took a while – and more digging to reach – but I managed to get three of the legs raised to the next highest position.

Which helped to a certain extent, but that fourth leg by the broken piece of tree would not budge.

I had forgotten just how big it was! The ice chipper is right at the largest end of the piece. Once I figured out where the end was, I could use the ice chipper handle to lever the branch loose, so it was no longer frozen to the ground. It was leaning right against the leg, pushing it over.

As much as I levered and wiggled the whole thing around, it still wouldn’t move off the leg.

There had to be a reason I couldn’t see.

Yup. Here it is.

There was a large branch, hidden in the snow, that I had been trying to roll it against! I stabbed along the length of it with the ice chipper until I found it’s end.

I was not about to dig all that out.

I grabbed a hatchet, instead. I didn’t need to even cut all the way through. Just enough that it would break, and I could finally clear it from the leg.

Which worked, but then I discovered another problem. The leg still wouldn’t move.

I chipped away around it. What you’re looking at is ground level. When the tree fell on the canopy, it drove the leg into the soil. Which is amazing, considering the legs have a flat plate on the bottom, so they can be pegged to the ground. Which they are. So the bottom of that leg, and the base of the part that slides up to raise the height of the tent, are frozen into the ground.

Well, crud.

I ended up having to break as many parts of the canopy frame as I could, to finally be able to clear the BBQ enough to cover it.

Which I finally did!

Then I used some of the heavy blocks of snow that were on the torn canopy to weigh down the bottom edges.

The frame is a mess, but it can’t be removed until the ground thaws out enough.

I like that the new cover for the BBQ has grommets on it. We’ll be able to peg it to the ground in between uses, so the wind won’t tear it off.

The branch pieces were set aside on the snow near the fire pit. Maple will make a nice cooking fire.

Then, since I was there anyhow, I dug a path from the fire pit to the wood pile.

Normally, I’d say we can use the fire pit now, and have ourselves a cookout if we want, but with that big puddle in the path, I think it’ll wait a bit longer. We don’t all have rubber boots.

For now, I’m just happy to have the new cover on the BBQ.

As long as we don’t get any more pieces of tree falling on it, now that there’s no longer the tent frame to protect it!

The Re-Farmer

We have a fire pit again!

Today is turning out a bit cooler than yesterday.

The outside cats don’t mind at all, and have been widening their horizons. This morning, I only saw 10 of them, even though there was no kibble left in the kibble house at all. The warmer temperatures has them needing fewer calories to keep themselves going.

When I put seed out for the birds and deer, our three usual visitors took off. They seem to have formed an actual little herd together. The piebald has always been a loner until now, but the mother and her yearling seem to have accepted her as part of their group.

Even if they do still bicker over the seeds.

Since digging the path to the sign cam, I now head over to switch the memory card right after putting the seed down. The deer usually come back to the feeding station right away, so my going in that direction seemed to confuse them! They went onto the road, milled around the intersection, then ran off down a different road.

While I was switching out the memory card, I heard noises.

They were running back again! Then they stopped and watched me while I finished with the trail cam. As I walked back to the house, they came running along the road again. There’s one spot along the north fence they have been able to use to use to get into our yard, and that’s what they were heading for.

They’ve been in front of our living room window, on and off, ever since.

While things were still below freezing, I decided to keep working on the path to the fire pit.

This is as far as I got, yesterday. You can see the shape of the BBQ under the remains of the tent – and the piece of tree that fell on it!

The tent, not the BBQ. The tent protected both the picnic table and the BBQ from damage.

To the right, there’s a bar with a handle on it sticking out of the snow. That’s where the fire pit is. That handle is for the cooking grill.

This is why I didn’t want to wait until it was warmer. I’m standing on the cat path to the storage house to take this photo. There’s a low spot that fills with water, and it’s still too chilly for my rubber boots. 😉

Here, I’m standing where the path curves, so the rest of it can be seen. I’d dug out most of the fire pit by this point. Yesterday, I had dug to just past the big maple tree.

We have a fire pit again! Yay!

Now that it’s uncovered, the sun should melt away the remaining snow in it rather quickly. There are two concrete blocks on the sides, and a the support for the cooking grill is in a half-block. Those will warm up quite a bit, once the sun hits them.

I don’t know where my parents got those glazed bricks around the fire pit. They are everywhere, and I don’t remember a time when we didn’t have them. I like them but, my goodness, they are dangerous! So incredibly slippery! I accidentally stepped on them more than a few times while shovelling, and almost lost my footing, every time.

The space around the fire pit still needs to be widened, so there’s room to set up chairs or even just stand around a fire and not be too close to it. From here, I’ll dig to the collapsed tent to access the BBQ and finally put the new over on it. The snow on the fire pit side of the tent isn’t as deep as around the other side.

There are a couple of large, hollowed out spaces under a nearby spruce tree. I think they are where deer had lain down in the snow.

Then a path needs to be dug to the wood pile.

Critters have already made their own path to the pile!

There’s a cover over most of the wood, so if we did want to do a cookout, we have dry wood available.

Here is the entire path, looking back towards the house.

There is something absolutely delightful about walking down these paths, through hip and waist deep snow. They’re like some sort of secret passageway!

I fully expect to see hoof and paw prints down here, soon. 😀

Now we just need an excuse to have a cook out! For the past few years, we’ve hardly been able to use the fire pit at all, due to dry conditions. Winter has been the only safe time to light a fire.

Hhhmmm… Now I’m thinking of what we’ve got that would do well, cooked over a fire… LOL

The Re-Farmer

Beautifully warm – and a new path

Wow, what a gorgeous day, today!

The forecast was for a high of 0C/32F today. As I write this, just past 5pm, we are at 4C/39F!

It was a perfect day to work outside.

This morning, after feeding the critters, I tried to keep the burn barrel going while hauling away more snow from near the house. It was so warm, I had to take off my parka, and I was still overheating in my sweatshirt!

I actually meant to post these photos yesterday, when the melt was just starting to kick in. Today, that trickle was pouring. There is nothing slowing it down, either, so while the end of the diverter is still buried, the water has obviously cleared itself an opening, somewhere inside the pile of snow.

The ceiling in the sun room is dripping like crazy. The drips are right over a shelf, and I had some boxes stored on top. My efforts to cover those and divert the water away were clearly not working anymore, and the boxes were getting soaked in places. They only have packing material in them, so I ended up putting those into an old feed bag, and the boxes went into the burn barrel. The top shelf got covered with an old feed bag, then I made use of the under-bed storage box that we used to start seeds in last year. Between the container and the lid, I was able to get under most of the drips, and for those that still missed, I had buckets on the floor.

You can see how much water has already accumulated, after about… 6 hours? Maybe 7.

We need a new roof so badly. *sigh* I shudder to think about how much water damage is in that ceiling!

On the plus side, by the end of today, most, if not all, of the snow should be gone from the roof, and the leaking should soon stop.

After a run to the post office this afternoon (more on that in another post), I went back out to do more digging. This time, to the trail cams. With all the cold and snow, I was no longer switching out the memory cards every morning. Today, I decided it was time to see how they fare.

The driveway cam was easy enough to deal with. I just had to re-dig a short path to it’s stand, and I could change the batteries and the memory card.

The sign cam, on the other hand, was a whole different ball game!

I took this photo when I was a little more than half way to the corner. In previous years, this area was crisscrossed with deer paths and the tracks of other wildlife. Between the deep snow over the garden area, and the piles of snow left by the plows along the road, the animals stayed away from this area completely. The roads, driveways and cleared paths in people’s yards were much more accommodating!

Even under the trees, sheltered by branches, I had to shovel a path right to the corner.

This picture was taken just clear of the trees at the corner, where the snow was nowhere near as deep.

Here, I was actually standing on the hard packed snow of the deer path to the fence.

There was just no way I could have gotten to the corner, without digging this path. I don’t have snow shoes!

There’s something we might need to invest in at some point!

It will be about where this path is now, or a bit to the left (west) of it that we will be planting silver buffalo berry bushes, this spring. 🙂 We still want to keep an avenue between the berry bushes and the trees at the fence line open for access.

At the time I was digging out this path, it was 3C/37F. I had on a light coat and a t-shirt this time, so at least I wasn’t overheating, by my goodness, it’s amazing how hot 3C feels, after the temperatures we were having not that long ago! With the snow melting, it was very wet and heavy, too. Even if we could get a snow blower this far out, we couldn’t use it; it would just clog up.

Thankfully, I really enjoy shoveling. 😀 What an excellent workout!

With these paths cleared, I’ll be able to add switching memory cards back into my morning routine. I finished uploading the files from the trail cams while I was writing this. The gate cam, which is set to take short video files only, recorded 160 files before the batteries died. The sign cam, which is set to take 3 stills, then a short video, recorded only 58 files before the batteries died. With the high piles of snow along the side of the road, and no wildlife going through the deep snow between the sign and the road, there wasn’t a lot that could trigger the motion sensor on that one!

It’s going to take me a while to go through all those files!

I think I’ll save that job for later. 😀

The Re-Farmer


I just spent the past several hours, clearing snow out of the corner by the basement window, and hauling it away.

I am now stiff, sore and in heaven.

Gosh, I love manual labour. 😀

This is how the area looked after I last worked on the area.

Hidden in the snow in the back of the first photo is the basement window, and my first goal was to get that clear.

After many loads of snow was hauled away, I could finally remove the cover over the window.


We really need to replace the hinged roof that used to be over this window, supported by that post.

Also, I had a very enthusiastic assistant.

Agnoos was very excited to sit in the wheelbarrow, every chance he got!

During one of my many trips with a load of snow, I was amused to find this, in front of the main entry.

That is a Rolando Moon butt spot. She had been sitting there, enjoying some sun, in the one warm spot that was melting in the warmth.

And it was remarkably warm! I don’t know what the temperature was, but it was warm enough I had to change into a lighter jacket and hat, instead of my down filled part and toque. There was snow melting off the roof, too – and into the sun room, unfortunately. We never did find where the leak was before the snow hit.

Digging out the window was more difficult than I expected. The post is in the way, of course, but that high density plastic protecting the ground in front of the window was SLIPPERY!! Along with the ice chipper, I broke out a small, telescoping snow shovel that really ought to be in our van for the winter. It was small enough for the space, plus aluminum, so it could cut through the hard packed snow and ice, except for the very worst, which needed the ice chipper.

Once the recessed area was clear, the cover went back into place.

Then the ice chipped got a major work out.

I was able to clear right to the ground, breaking off chunks of hard packed snow where the path had been, and clearing along with wall. The downspout off the entry is now clear – and it was dripping!

I wasn’t done yet, though!

With water leaking into the sun room, and seeing quite a bit of melt happening on the roof, I broke out the telescoping roof snow shovel.

That thing can reach remarkably far!

You can now see an ice dam on the eave of the main roof, which drains onto the sunroom roof. Remarkably, the telescoping shovel could even reach onto there.

I seem to recall finding some sidewalk de-icer in the basement, I think. We’ll have to look for it. What I’d like to do (or, more likely, will ask a daughter to do) is make a long, narrow fabric tube and fill it with de-icer, then toss it over the ice dam to create a channel to the eaves trough.

Of course, that meant more snow to haul away. The openings into the shelf that are shelters for the cats were completely covered, and the shelves partially filled.

Once that was cleared, more chipping was done in front of the door, and along the sun room to the old kitchen garden.

That was some seriously hard packed snow.

Once it was clear, I pushed the sump pump hose through between the shelf and the window.

Now, it is back where it’s supposed to be, draining into the old kitchen garden, and nowhere near the well!

The diverter then got put back under the downspout. We’ll have to keep an eye on it, since it’s sitting on top of snow, so it’ll shift as things melt. Eventually, the rain barrel will go back into this spot.

Which is really a bad spot for a rain barrel. It blocks access to the garden. Ideally, it should be around the corner. At some point, we’ll work out a way to do that. Unfortunately, the last concrete block is tipping, likely undermined from the rain barrel being allowed to overflow. When we made a path along the west facing wall, it looked like the entire corner has been undermined. If it’s slowly sinking, that would explain the door frame being so off kilter, and cracking windows. We have spare windows in both sizes in the barn, but I wouldn’t want to replace them without making sure they aren’t just going to crack again! Both smaller windows, and one big window, need to be replaced. At least it’s just the inner panes on these double paned windows that’s cracked. The big window is just a single pain window, and has been since before we moved here. You can really tell the difference. It gets completely covered with frost, while the other windows remain clear.

So that’s the first are that needed to be cleared. Next, we have to clear the well cap.

That’s under the pile of snow you can see on the right of the photo with the door, and on the left of the photo with the newly cleared area.

It’s going to take a lot of trips to clear that pile, and it’s starting to get hard to find space to dump the snow without blocking areas we need to keep open!

We should be able to work on it over the next few days, though maybe not tomorrow. I think some pain killers and a break is in order! Plus, I got a message letting me know my mother’s car is ready, so we’ll be going into town to pick that up, and get the new alternator belt and tensioner looked at. And talk to him about the windshield wipers. And the EGR valve codes triggering the check engine light…

We really need a new van. Or maybe a truck, instead. As long as my husband can get in and out without too much pain, and there’s room for his walker.

If I’m going to dream about it, I want an extended cab F150 or Ram 1500 (both highest rated for winter trucks, last I looked), with a tow hitch and a plow attachment. With, of course, a plow and a small trailer to go with it. Plus a cap on the box, to protect our monthly groceries and supplies. 😉

In blue.

Because I like blue.

Oh, that reminds me. I wasn’t able to stop to take a photo, but while driving home from the city, the odometer on our van hit 456,789 km. 😀

Definitely time for something newer, and in better shape! Since we got this vehicle, the cost of major repairs could have bought a newer, less worn out, vehicle! It’s done well by us, though, all things considered.

Even if I did have to drive across three provinces while holding the door with one hand, to keep it from popping open, in spite of the Bungee cord rigged to hold it closed, when we moved out here!

Still, not bad for a vehicle I could pay for using my debit card.

The Re-Farmer

Looking beautiful today!

Would you look at this!

As I write this, it’s -7C/19F. I think it was about -9C/16F while I was outside this morning, and we’re still expected to warm up to -5C/23F.

It’s gloriously warm out there!

Funny how acclimatization works. 😀

Before I go on, however, I just have to share this horribly low quality picture of Nosencrantz.

Our cat is broken.

I didn’t want to disturb her with a flash.

Baby girl is enjoying life! She is the most chill cat, ever. Gosh, I’m going to miss her when she gets adopted out!!

We’re still keeping her and Butterscotch in my office/bedroom. Or should I say, we are mostly keeping the other cats out, letting them in only under supervision. Nosentrantz has shown little interest in leaving, though we take her out and carry her around. Most of the other cats are okay with her, but some are not. Beep Beep, Tissue and Turmeric, in particular, are not happy to see her. Mind you, Beep Beep is just a b*** and will randomly go after other cats anyhow, but Tissue and Turmeric will try to go after Nosencrantz, specifically. Which is a bit funny at times. Nosencrantz will be sitting on the red blanket, watching the other cats mill about, un-phased. Turmeric will see her, stand up by the bed and start batting and hissing at her, and Nosencrantz will just look at her, like she’s nuts.

Which she is.

Butterscotch, on the other hand, hardly ever comes out of her favourite corners. She’ll move from one corner to the other, come out to eat, drink or use the litter box, and if no other cats are around, she’ll come out for pets. She especially likes my husband. But she wants nothing to do with other cats! Even if they’re completely ignoring her, if she sees any, she starts snarling. She’s even started to snarl at Nosencrantz, sometimes! She just wants people. No cats.

As for the outside cats, they are quite enjoying the warmer weather!

They are very active outside, and we see them running and climbing all over the place.

With so much packed down snow, it’s become difficult to clean out the heated water bowl. The cord is completely buried, so all I can do is tip out the water into the snow.

Nice to see Ghost Baby making an appearance. I do wish we could convince her to come closer. She’s the most feral of all the yard cats.

I’m amused by the spot on the roof of the cat’s house. Even with snow on it, they’ll sit in the spot above the heat lamp inside. 😀

I took advantage of the warmth and got the burn barrel going, which required digging it out again, digging out the path the the electric meter, then started working on clearing snow away from the house.

Some of it was quite hard packed, and needed to be broken up with the ice chipper.

I think I got about a half dozen wheelbarrow loads hauled away, before the burn barrel was done and it was time to go inside. Not a lot of snow can fit in the wheelbarrow before it all just starts sliding down the sides.

Agnoos really likes it when I’m tending the burn barrel, for some reason!

It’s going to take many trips to clear the corner out. The girls and I will chip away at it over the next couple of weeks, while the temperatures are warmer, but not yet melting. We’ll need to clear away the well cap, too, which is going to be the most difficult part. We did try to keep it clear, but there was just too much snow.

While we have several snow shovels, the ergonomic one in the photos is our best one, and we prefer to wait until it’s free instead of using one of the others. Once I was done, my daughter used it to clear parts of the roof, so we don’t end up with water leaking into the house again.

Unfortunately, she noticed the shovel is starting to crack in the middle.


Looks like we’ll have to find a new one sooner rather than later. The other shovels we have are not as strong as this one, and are far more likely to break with the packed snow we have to clear. Except for the one steel one we found, and that one is just too heavy for a job this big!

My husband’s disability pay came in today, instead of Monday. We weren’t sure if they would do that again, and my plan had been to do at least part of the big shop today, if it did. Unfortunately, I was not feeling well this morning. The deli pizzas I picked up as a treat yesterday apparently did not agree with me! So that will have to wait until tomorrow, depending on how I’m feeling. I would have at least liked to make the closer trip to a Walmart. With the paw paw and tulip tree seeds, we’re going to need more soil, soon.

Now, a new snow shovel is on the list.

The Re-Farmer